New deal could keep Olson at UA five more years

There has been a lot of speculation over the last few years that Lute Olson's retirement was imminent. That kind of talk intensified when Olson got remarried this past spring. When he said he would split his time between Tucson and Pittsburgh to be with his new wife, it added more concerns about his longevity. That kind of talk may quiet as Olson is poised to sign a new contract that could keep him on the Arizona bench for another five years.

Olson was approached by Jim Livengood about his contract status shortly after Mike Stoops was hired as the new UA football coach. Livengood indicated that he'd like to rework Olson's deal and present both contracts to the UA Board of Regents later this month. No terms were disclosed, but Olson told Cat Tracks that he just wanted "fair market value" with a new deal.

There was a bit of a local uproar when John Mackovic got a higher paying contract than Olson and the athletic department wanted to make sure Olson was not left behind salary-wise when Stoops signed his deal.

Stoops will earn a base salary of $350,000 and another $300,000 for public relations duties that include speaking engagements as well as his radio and television shows. It is believed that Stoops will earn right around $100,000 from Nike.

There are no details about Olson's new deal, but when the subject of the new contract came up Olson indicated he wanted to see what coaches like Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo and Tubby Smith make. Olson stressed that he did not feel any need to be the highest paid coach in the nation, but that he did want a deal that was "fair".

Tubby Smith is the highest paid coach in college basketball after he signed his new deal in the offseason. Smith's contract is for eight years with an escalating scale from 1.75 this year to 2.4 in 2010-11.

Smith's deal:
$200,000 base
$1.5 million equipment/media
$1.5 million bonus for staying four years
$2.5 million bonus for staying all 8 years

Bill Self's contract at Kansas is for five years at $1.1 million a season. Self has $129,380 base, a $400,000 multi-media package, $350,000 apparel and equipment bonus and $250,000 for his summer camps.

Tom Izzo makes $1.3 million a season, with a $320,000 base and a yearly $300,000 stock portfolio. He'll also get a $3.2 million bonus from private boosters for staying five years.

Roy Williams gets a base of $260,000 but no details of his media and Nike money were available. Billy Donovan just signed a new six-year, $1.7 million per year contract. Krzyzewski has a lifetime deal with Duke and the exact numbers are not out, but his prior contract paid him $1.6 million per season.

This will help Wildcat recruiting instantly. Many recruits were curious about how long Olson would remain at Arizona and many coaches used Olson's age in their recruiting tactics.

The Board of Regents will look at the deal in two weeks, but the contract likely won't be approved for two months. Olson's current contract runs out at the end of April.

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